1885 Map showing Police Station in Bastion Square, UBC Specal collections G 3514-V5G475 1885 s2.  For a larger version, go to the Maps section. Bastion Square Jail, 1870s, BCA: G-04524

This sections provides a brief overview of the personalities who were involved with this case and who are referred to in the various primary source documents.


The Victim:

Johnston Cochrane:

  • Cochrane served the colony of Vancouver Island as a police constable
  • On June 2, 1859, whilst investigating the theft of livestock and on route to executing a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Lewis, Cochrane was murdered by an unknown assailant
  • The body was described as having two gunshot wounds to the head and face.
  • Recorded as being the first British Columbia law enforcement officer killed while in the line of duty, he was thirty-six years old


The Suspects:

Joseph Lewis:

  • Was of Portuguese decent
  • Also known as "Portuguese Joe"
  • British Colonist reported Lewis as being a butcher by profession
  • Lewis was the first suspect in the murder of Johnston Cochrane and was arrested on June 3, 1859
  • Lewis was charged but released 10 days later due to a "water-tight" alibi

Francois Pressci:

  • Pressci discovered the body of Johnston Cochrane and was the 2nd suspect arrested and charged
  • By June 21st 1859 the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence
  • There is no further located information regarding this individual.


  • Resided with his father at the farm of the late Dr. Kennedy
  • During trial, it was established that Jollibeau had a prior relationship with Joseph Lewis in “shooting game for the market”
  • Jollibeau was arrested and tried in the murder of Johnston Cochrane, but was later released
  • There was no evidence to link Jollibeau to the crime of Johnston Cochrane, and after a short trial he was released.


Other Important Characters:

Augustus Pemberton:

  • Appointed as Magistrate and Commissioner of police for Vancouver Island on July 17, 1858
  • Was given the authority to organize a police force for the city of Victoria –The colonial police force was referred to as the Victoria Metropolitan Police.

Dr. John Frederick Kennedy:

  • Born 1805, educated in Scotland and obtained a medical degree in Edinburgh
  • Obtained a medical position with the Hudson’s Bay Company
  • Was posted at various forts in the province including Fort Rupert, Fort Simpson and Fort Nisqually
  • Planned to end his career at Fort Victoria
  • Became a member of the house of assembly for Nanaimo
  • Died in April of 1859

Henry Pering Pellew Crease:

  • Born 1825 in Cornwall England
  • Lawyer, Attorney General and Judge, 1853-1895
  • Served as the attorney of Joseph Lewis during his trial for the murder of Johnston Cochrane
  • Died 1905

Chartres Brew:

  • Born in 1815
  • Originated fron Corofin, Ireland
  • 1858 was recommended for the officer of Chief Inspector of Police to establish the Colonial police force
  • Brother in law to Justice Augustus Pemberton